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Soutwest Airlines Case Analysis

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Southwest Airlines, Co.

COMPANY NAME: Southwest Airlines Co.
INDUSTRY: Regional Airlines
COMPANY BACKGROUND: Southwest Airlines was founded in 1967 (Yahoo Finance, 2012) and started out as an idea from Rollin King, a San Antonio entrepreneur of a commuter air service. The idea was a response to complaints from his banker about the expense and inconvenience of ground travel between the cities of Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, also known as the Golden Triangle (Dess, Lumpkin, & Eisner, 2010 page C194). King, wanting to bring the idea to fruition, pooled his money together with a San Antonio lawyer, Herb Kelleher, who later won many of the company’s legal and territorial battles, and they started Southwest Airlines.
After four years of legal battles with major airlines while the company was still very new, Southwest Airlines (SWA) finally launched its first flight in 1971 and continued to run with the assistance of many key people. One of the key people who got the company on its feet was Lamar Muse, former CEO. Howard Putnam later took Muse’s place as CEO from 1978 to 1982 and was then replaced by Herb Keller who was previously Chairman of the Board. Under the influence of Keller and SWA’s “low-cost strategy” (Dess, Lumpkin, & Eisner, 2010 page C194), SWA expanded from flying to only 14 cities, but still earning $270 million, to later servicing 64 cities, all at low rates. SWA continues to be a popular airline and its current key people are Gary Kelly, Chairman and CEO; Laura Wright, CFO and Senior VP of Finance; Michael Van De Ven, COO; Ron Ricks, Chief Legal and Regulatory Officer and Robert Jordan, Chief Commercial Officer.
SWOT ANALYSIS: Strengths: SWA has a few strengths. One of their biggest strengths is their ability to charge fares at low-cost, becoming the pioneer of the…...

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